ARLINGTON (AP) – Josh Hamilton stood in the Texas outfield as the cheers got louder and louder. It was the first time the slugger really didn’t know what to do.
Already with two homers in the first game back since a four-homer performance on the road earlier this week, Hamilton no longer could suppress a smile. He acknowledged the ovation with a wave of his glove.
“That was cool,” Hamilton said after the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-3 on Friday night. “You don’t know what to do in that instance because it was in the middle of a game.”
Yu Darvish struck out seven while C.J. Wilson faced only five batters in his first game against his old team, forced out by a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay in the first inning.
Darvish (5-1), signed by the Rangers after they let Wilson go, worked into the sixth. His 93rd and final pitch came four hours after his first one.
“Yu pitched great. I was proud of him coming back out there and sticking it out, doing what he’s got to do,” Hamilton said. “That says to his teammates about him as a player and a competitor to go back out and do that.”
Both of Hamilton’s solo homers came after the rain stopped.
Before the delay, Texas already led against Wilson (4-3), the Rangers’ No. 1 starter last season who left in free agency after their second consecutive World Series appearance. The left-hander won’t have to wait long for another chance because he’s scheduled to start Saturday’s game.
“Two hours is too long for C.J. to go back out,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “and he felt really strong that he could come back and start (Saturday), and we felt that was the best option.”
Hamilton became only the 16th player in major league history with four homers in a game when he accomplished the feat Tuesday night in Baltimore.
Mitch Moreland also homered for Texas in the seventh, when Rangers fans started chanting “We want C.J.!” with a rhythmic clap.
Moreland entered in the first when he hit for catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who had a head contusion after he was struck by the splintered bat of Albert Pujols. Torrealba said after the game he felt fine.
Hamilton hit a towering drive in the second inning, then lined a shot into the right-field seats in the fourth to make it 9-2. He has eight homers in his past five games.
“He’s as locked in as any hitter can be right now,” Scioscia said.
The slugger, who is eligible for free agency after the season, leads the majors with his .407 batting average, 17 homers and 40 RBIs.
The Rangers, citing baseballreference.com, said Hamilton is only the third player since 1918 with 17 homers in his team’s first 33 games, and he missed three of those with back stiffness. The others were Cy Williams for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1923 and Frank Howard for the Washington Senators in 1968.
Darvish, coming off his first loss Sunday at Cleveland, walked three and gave up three hits. During the rain delay, he kept throwing every 15 minutes.
“He wanted to pitch. He said he showed up today to pitch. He didn’t show up today to go out there for one inning and call it quits,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He was mentally prepared to pitch against the Angels.”
Texas played a doubleheader Thursday in Baltimore because of a rainout Wednesday. Darvish flew home ahead of his teammates, who didn’t get back to Texas until about 3 a.m. Friday.
“The whole time I expected to stay in the game,” Darvish said through his translator. “No matter what time, or how long the delay, I kept myself ready to pitch.”
Wilson struck out Ian Kinsler to start the bottom of the first, but that was the only out for the left-hander.
Elvis Andrus, Hamilton and Adrian Beltre followed with consecutive infield singles for a 1-0 lead. Michael Young then walked to load the bases before umpires stopped the game as heavy rain started to fall.
After the delay, Nelson Cruz hit a two-run single on the first pitch thrown by right-hander Jerome Williams, the scheduled Saturday starter. Young then scored on a fielder’s choice for a 4-0 lead that closed the book on Wilson, who allowed only four earned runs over 20 innings in his previous three road starts this year.
Texas led 6-0 later in the first when Craig Gentry had the first of his three hits, a two-run triple.
Torrealba dropped to the ground after Pujols followed through on his swing and the bat struck the catcher’s mask with so much force that it was knocked off his head. After gathering himself for a few minutes, Torrealba remained in the game then.
Pujols’ bat splintered in half, and the barrel wound up in foul territory near third base not far from where Young caught the popup. Pujols, who hit three homers for St. Louis in Game 3 of the World Series in Texas last October, finished 0 for 4. He is hitting .192 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 32 games with the Angels.
NOTES: Hamilton and Andrus both have 11-game hitting streaks. … Texas (22-11) has the best record in the majors, and equaled its best 33-game start in franchise history. … The Angels (14-19) had won four of five games and eight of 11. … The crowd of 48,201 extended the Rangers’ record streak of sellouts to seven in a row. The last two games are sold out as well.